Representing NuStep and Helping those with Spinal Cord Injuries!

While at Nustep this week I met Tom Hoatlin, he is pictured here on the NuStep with Steve Sarns standing behind him. Tom works out 3 times a week often utilizing the ingenious leg brace attachment on the Nustep which is designed for those who have mobility limitations in their lower body. Tom works for the Christopher Reed foundation as a mentor for those who have experienced spinal cord injuries. Another awesome, motivating individual!

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Injury Management – By Cliff Douglas

Jes asked me to say a few words about dealing with injury.  She asked the right person.  (I am so proud –sort of.)

I’ll start with my so-called “credentials.”  Over the years I’ve hurt so many parts of my body – running, jumping, twisting, and crashing into an assortment of people and things that didn’t move out of the way fast enough – that I haven’t bothered to keep a list.  It would be too long.  Not enough paper.

(Thats Cliff…Doesn’t He Look Cool???)

My first meaningful sports injuries came in 11th grade, when I separated a shoulder playing basketball and not long after, just before the state track & field finals, hurt my lower back while triple jumping.  The shoulder more-or-less got better on its own (although it was never the same after that), and we treated my back with deep heat, ultrasound and acupuncture.  This was a long time ago, so my recollection is that we didn’t do some important things to manage the back injury, such as physical therapy, that would be typical now.  I competed and managed to do alright – a kid isn’t going to miss his chance at alleged high school glory unless he’s in a body cast – but that injury launched me on a lifetime of managing injury.

Jump ahead, ahem, a few years.  Since I started working out with Jes in 2008 (yeah!), I’ve had elbow tendinitis, foot pain (thanks, Mom, for the bunion), a strained quad muscle, a shoulder impingement, and most seriously, a condition called osteitis pubis, or OP.  OP is fairly common among runners, soccer players and other athletes, and involves inflammation of the joint at the front of the pelvis between the two ends of the pubic bone.  It often causes acute and chronic groin pain, and unlike many injuries, heals only with rest.  I’ve had it twice.

In the case of EVERY one of the above injuries, I’ve continued working out with Jes and on my own – carefully, but consistently and with intensity.  Jes has done an incredible job of understanding the nature of each injury, checking my status before each workout, and designing each individual session in consultation with me to ensure the best possible workout while protecting the injury and allowing it to continue to heal.

Other than the people I’ve specifically told about my injuries, nobody has known along the way that I’ve been dealing with them.  Why? Because I haven’t stopped working out, staying in shape and maintaining my weight and muscle tone.  I’ve had to change up a lot of things along the way – not running for a few months, for example – but never had to (or, of course, would) become a couch potato.  My body hasn’t changed.  Neither, I hope, has the look of pleasure I have on my face every time I’m at the gym and fantasizing that I’m cooler and buffer than I really am.

I know I’m in great company.  We’ve all had aches and pains and, sometimes, full-fledged sports-related injuries.  The best advice I can give is, don’t sit down.  Remain positive.  Why shouldn’t you?  Even if you have to sacrifice doing something that you love for a period of time, you can still stay in shape and feel good (and feel good about yourself), and then, when you’re better, come back and kick butt again.  Taking this simple advice pays huge dividends.  In many cases (there are exceptions, but not many), there is no reason why you can’t keep safely working out and pushing yourself, even if you have to work around, or strategically through, an injury.

Go ahead and curse your damn hamstring, lower-back, foot or elbow/knee/shoulder.  I’ve been known to do that.  But remember that, even while you’re dealing with the challenge – and maybe getting help from health care practitioners, such as a good physical therapist (thanks, Probility!) – you can stay (or get) strong and maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness.

When all is said and done, I deal with my injuries but don’t obsess about them.  That’s critical.  You are you, the injury is not you.  Keep doing your best and having fun – with expert support and guidance from Jes – and move ahead!  Can’t run?  Bike.  Can’t bike either?  Get on that elliptical or step machine.  Those don’t work either?  Get in the pool.  Hit all of the weights and other routines permitted by your injury.  (I guarantee that Jes will find plenty for you to do.)  There are always challenging and effective things that you can enjoy to stay fit and feel good, both physically and emotionally, while overcoming an injury.

This is Jes talking here:

First, Thank You Cliff!!!!!

Next: Take it from Cliff, when you have a good trainer, they will help you manage your injuries without exacerbating them, often they will assist you in the healing process and direct you to the appropriate professional help you may need. This is key for those who intend to remain active throughout their entire lives…If you are struggling with recurring injury, send an email to so we can set up an appointment and put together a plan that will help you manage it and hopefully even improve the condition so you can stay active!

The Reality of The Biggest Loser

Do you guys watch The Biggest Loser? In case you didn’t know, it’s a reality show that brings 12 people to a weight loss ranch and puts them on a weight loss program. The contestants compete against one another to see who can lose the most weight.

I’ve watched a few episodes here and there and a few times I’ve even followed the show for an entire season. I admit it…I do watch some reality TV, like Extreme Makeover Home Edition, The Biggest Loser, and The Amazing Race. Most of the other ones aren’t really my style, although I did unfortunately get sucked into watching The Bachelor last season…(it won’t happen again). Anyway, I think the biggest loser is a good show. It’s good to see people whose are obese be empowered to do something about it. And I think putting the show on television helps people all over the country to believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their own weight loss goals.

That being said, let’s talk about the reality of the Biggest Loser. Most of the contestants, on average, weigh between 250-450 lbs., & not unlike the 60% of Americans who struggle with obesity, they have a lot of weight to lose. That similarity between the contestants weights and that of most Americans is about the only “reality” of The Biggest Loser. The contestants on The Biggest Loser are away from their families, their jobs, and all their home responsibilities while they are at the ranch. Unless I missed the episode where they clean the toilets, the only thing they do while on the show is workout, eat portion sized meals, learn about nutrition, and get some type of psychological coaching during their “off time”.

Let’s be honest about it, most of the people struggling with obesity in this country have jobs, homes, and a family that they must take care of. They don’t have time to work out for 4 hours a day like many of the contestants on the show do prior to the “weigh in”. They don’t have access to the best nutrition experts in the country, they don’t have a personal trainer living at their house & forcing them to get out of bed and get to the gym. The contestants on The Biggest Loser are isolated from everything in the world while they focus solely on weight loss. They are in their own little world, it’s not “reality” at all.

The reality is that if you aren’t on the show and you want to lose weight, you have to find a way to transform your entire lifestyle from unhealthy to healthy and manage all the other aspects of life at the same time. That is the real challenge that most people in America–and all over the globe–are facing.

It’s a big challenge, but I think The Biggest Loser is actually a part of helping people face that challenge. People can relate to the contestants and their struggles with obesity and it inspires them to achieve similar things. That’s why I like it. I love seeing people achieve their weight loss goals and inspiring others to do the same. If you have the time, check out this audition video for the biggest loser. It’s cute…you’ll laugh and you’ll be touched by this woman’s reason for wanting to be a member of the biggest loser cast.

Managing Injuries and Chronic Pain While Staying Active

It’s not uncommon for people to lose focus due to painful knees or because they can’t seem to find the right back pain solution.  Its as if injuries and chronic pain cast a paralyzing spell on us that causes us to become more and more afraid that there is no viable solution.  We become depressed and stop playing our favorite sports because we don’t know what to do, or we’ve received a partial (or just plain inadequate) diagnosis that tells us our days of sports and fun are over.

How discouraging is that?  Especially for those of us who are athletic and have a true love for active living!

Things like migraines, arthritis, back pain, knee injuries, & fibromyalgia are some of the common maladies that prevent people from staying active and maintaining their health plan. When an injury or illness presents itself, you are challenged in two ways. First you must address the condition itself and on top of that you have to manage the frustration of being immobilized and diverted from your health plan.

The most important thing to remember when you are dealing with an injury or chronic pain is to first seek the medical attention you need to manage your condition. If you’ve already seen a medical professional regarding your condition and you’ve received diagnosis, then hopefully you have the information you need to heal.

In addition to traditional medicine or physical therapy, there are a variety of alternative therapies available to you. Therapeutic massage in Shenzhen, Chiropractors, vitamins and natural herbs have become increasingly popular because they encourage the body to heal on it’s own and they are non-invasive. If you are working through and injury, the right personal trainer may be the very thing you need. A well trained personal trainer will understand how far you can push yourself without making our injury worse. In addition, you’ll learn specific stretches and exercises that will promote balanced muscular development.

Many people are of the attitude that they can work through the injury on their own (I know I am). In one sense it’s an asset to be this way, because mental attitude, belief, and faith are such an important part of healing and overcoming challenges. But this attitude can also be a drawback though because it often leads to stupid choices that make your injury worse (that’s me!).

Dealing with back pain, an injury or illness requires a delicate balance of determination and wisdom. We need determination to overcome the problem and wisdom to know how to address it properly. So often in our stupid pride we keep ourselves from simple solutions that professionals can easily provide. Instead of suffering through the pain or accepting chronic pain as a way of life, make the choice to learn about your condition and the possible solutions that are available to you. Do your best everyday and never give up on yourself!

Ready to Give Up?…Don’t Stop Believin!!!

Ready to Give Up?…Don’t Stop Believin!!!

So I thought it would be both fun and funny to include some motivational music for your entertainment. While this isn’t a song I would choose for my Ipod, I thought it was a cute way to make my point. Ah ha ha ha my stupid humor at least makes me laugh, as I’m listening to this song I’m cracking up. I hope I got at least a smile out of you. Now onto my point.

Fitness results don’t come in a bottle, box, or on a late night infomercial. It’s a way of life, the result of definite and specific actions that are proven to produce results. People who have long term results practice certain habits (of thought and action) that produce a lean, healthy body, it’s that simple. In the same respect, mindless eating, inactivity, and packed schedules that leave no time for fitness is also a way of life, the result of your own choices & habits.

No matter what your living, whether your lean or overweight, you should think of it as a long term effect (or result). Instead of being depressed or disappointed with your results, recognize that every effect has a cause and you are capable of changing the cause!  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Often times people get so frustrated by their lack of results that they choose a quick fix answer in the form of pills and supplements.  These products offer a visible result that appears to be a viable solution but unfortunately they act like a patch or band-aid, covering up unchanged bad lifestyle habits.  Instead of treating the effects by taking pills, supplements, or considering surgery, choose to treat the cause.

The fact that you haven’t found the true cause may be why you’re so discouraged right now.

How do you find the cause? I feel the source of most peoples struggle with body fat is in their self-image and self-esteem. If you feel that you are fat, ugly, or overweight, if that is your identity, if all you talk about is why you don’t have results and why you’re fat, you’ll have a lifestyle that lines up with that picture. Inactivity, poor nutrition, and lack of motivation are all products of the negative self-image you hold deep inside your mind and it basically makes you feel like total crap. This is often the true cause of many peoples weight control struggles.

It doesn’t matter what product or procedure you use, they only treat the effects (too much body fat, not enough exercise, bad nutrition, no motivation).

Lifelong health, fitness or the perfect body weight do not come from a bottle, in a box, or through surgery. To get your fitness results, to live healthy, be lean, and be filled with energy, you must identify the cause of your struggle, which usually starts with your own psyche, and work from the inside-out (not the outside-in). When you begin to work from the inside (the cause), you’ll notice improved motivation, better nutrition, and living an active lifestyle will finally last for good.